James Scannell McCormick
To the "Michigan Fish Poets"
When I was a little boy I went down to
Big Bay beach, where two older boys, shirtless, were up
To their thighs in water, and they were catching smelt
With their hands, then holding them flat on the concrete
Jetty, where, for fun, they poked out the fishes' eyes
With linden sticks and threw the fish back in again,
And the fish weren't hovering like bullets in gunmetal blue
Stasis, or mouthing prayers, but thick tear-tracks of blood
Followed their pain-curling bodies in the bone-cold water.
Which is why, believe me, I, too, know about fish.
James Scannell McCormick holds a doctorate in creative writing-poetry from Western Michigan University. His works have appeared Unsplendid, Cave Wall, and Verse Wisconsin. His poem "Lot (Hermes in Tulips)" was nominated for a 2008 Pushcart Prize; his poem "Trouble" was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize. He currently lives and teaches in Rochester, Minnesota.